Wealdstone 0, Lowestoft Town 0
Eighteen-year-old debutant keeper Jake Jessup kept a clean sheet but Lowestoft were knocked off top spot in the Ryman League Premier Division following a goalless draw at Wealdstone on Saturday.
Jessup, who signed for the Trawlerboys from Great Yarmouth Town, was given his chance as regular number one Andy Reynolds had joined Lowestoft's growing injury list. He responded with a near-faultless display in front of a vociferous 600-plus home crowd.
The game got off to a thunderous start with stand-in full-back Adrian Forbes going into the referee's notebook inside the first minute for a fierce tackle on Danny Spendlove. That set the tone for the whole game, which was played at a fast pace and with little quarter given by either side.
It was not until midway through the first half that either keeper was brought into real action, with prolific scorer Richard Jolly getting through but Jessup was out quickly to save at the feet of the striker.
Lowestoft then produced a period of pressure with Joe Francis' header being deflected for a corner from which Sam Gaughran sent a header an inch over the bar. Jessup was then called into action with two more excellent saves inside a minute to deny first Jolly and then David Hicks.
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The second half followed a similar pattern of end to end play with both sides having periods on top. Andrew Fisk's low drive from 20 yards brought a fine diving save from Jonathan North. Stuart Ainsley then set Francis away down the left and although his cross deceived North, the ball ran across the face of the crossbar to safety.
It was the Trawlerboys who continued to carve out the clearer openings with Ainsley's determination winning the ball and he took a return pass from Matt Nolan only to be foiled by North's diving body. Francis and Nolan both saw goalbound efforts deflected wide off home defenders.
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Although Wealdstone enjoyed their fair share of possession in the second half, Jessup confidently collected the numerous high balls into the box despite being under pressure from the home attackers, with Jolly booked for one overly robust challenge on the young keeper.
With the outstanding Gaughran marshalling the defence, the Blues never really looked in danger of conceding despite the late onslaught.
One worrying note for the Lowestoft management was the sight of Francis limping off at the end of the game.
• Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Chappell, Parker, Massey, Dyer, McCubbin, Hicks, Dean, Jolly, Spendlove. Subs (not used): Cronin, Brooks, O'Leary, Miller, Adjei.
• Lowestoft Town: Jessup, Forbes, Smith, Ainsley, Halliday, Gaughran, Henderson (Sub Stock 87), Fisk, Nolan, Frew (Sub Forshaw 65), Francis. Subs (not used): Cockrill, Marsden, Chick.
• Attendance: 626